View Full Version : Which Auto-Loader for a New Skeet Shooter?

September 30, 2007, 04:19 PM
I have never tried to shoot skeet before, but the range that I have joined has a skeet thrower and a wobble trap. I'm very interested in getting started, but the only shotgun experience that I have is limited to a Mossberg Model 500. I'm interested in an auto-loader. A friend of mine has a Browning Auto-5 Light 12 for sale.

I don't want to spend an exhorbitant amount of money, however, I don't want a cheap piece of junk.

Should I go with a 12 gauge or a 20 gauge? I'm leaning toward a 20 gauge so that my wife might give it a try as well.

How about a 28 inch barrel versus a 30 inch barrel?

Are the fiber optic sights worth it?

September 30, 2007, 05:18 PM
Remington 1100. You should be able to find a good used example for $350-$400. They're gas-operated so they're softer on the shoulder. I've known some terrific female skeet shooters who each used a 20ga 1100. I'm actually in the market for one myself at the moment since I think it would be ideal for doves. I'd pass on the A5. They are great guns and lots of people own them but time and technology has passed them by. If you want to shoot one for nostalgia's sake, then be my guest. I shoot my grandfather's SxS sometimes just for that reason. I can't hit much with it so it usually goes back in the case pretty quick.

That said, 12 or 20 will both be fine for skeet. Many people shoot 12's because there is a wider variety of ammo available and they can be loaded to take virtually any game animal on the planet (certainly in North America). They also have an advantage on Sporting-Clays and Trap where larger payloads of larger shot can be the difference between X's and O's. Plain old #8 field loads work well for skeet.

Personally, I'd go with 26" or 28". 30" will be a little harder to find and harder to sell when/if the time comes and I don't think there is any (real) advantage. I don't like fiber-optic sites on a gun for wing-shooting. They are fine for turkey and deer IMHO, but I'd prefer to have a bead on the end of the rib and a smaller one mid-rib.

September 30, 2007, 07:03 PM
I can't think of one thing to argue about with lockedcj7's reply! You can't go wrong with a 1100, or an 11-87 for that matter. A 20 would work just fine for skeet, if you would like to get your wife shooting skeet. I never could tell any difference in my scores between a 12 and a 20 in shooting skeet, except possibly recoil. I just picked up a NIB 11-87 Premier 20 gauge w/ 26" bbl. I don't know just exactly what I am going to use it for yet. But it will either be for my petite daughter, or one of my grandkids. :D

September 30, 2007, 07:10 PM
This is not the norm but I purchased a Stoeger M-2000 after good recommendations from TFL members as well as a well respected salesman at my local sporting store. I have been pleasantly suprised to say the least. I've taken it Trap shooting twice now and its has handled and funciton perfectly. Best of all is it is a derivative of the very reliable Benelli "enertia" action and the fact that one can be had in standard black finish for less than $400 brand new. The only downside is the fact that its only available in 12 gauge, however I do not think its a brute anyway. I've heard from some TFL members that its a kitten when fitted with a limbsaver recoil pad.......I haven't put one on yet bc I'm not even sure it warranted. Hope this helps. Good luck


September 30, 2007, 07:22 PM
I'm partial to Berettas but there are a lot of good autos. Just make sure you get a decent one so you are not frustrated with the gun's operation.

I have a Beretta 390 (discontinued model). There are two replacements of sorts; 391 or 3901.

A used gun may be the best bet for value. I wouldn't go above 28". I'm now using an O/U for skeet with a 30" brl but an auto has a breech that will add a good 5".

12ga is most versatile (in case you want to do duck, geese, or whatever hunting in the future).

And as people much more knowledable than me would say, the most important thing is to pick a gun that feels right to you when you mount it. Don't get your mind set on a specific gun until you have held it, mounted it, and see how it fits.

Most important...have fun.

Smitty in CT
September 30, 2007, 08:37 PM
If you are already familiar with the Model 500, you might want to take a look at the Mossberg 930, they are great guns, balance well, and shoot the very light target loads...

September 30, 2007, 09:25 PM
i've heard nothing but great about berettas and remington 11-87's and 1100's. if you really want to go hard core and can afford it, benelli makes like the ultimate trap gun: http://www.benelliusa.com/firearms/supersport.tpl when i was in the market for a new shotgun, i went to the bass pro and the salesman was like, since you're here, go ahead and hold this. it weighs next to nothing and kicks less than a heavy gun, considering it has every possible recoil reducer known to man. that's if you have the $1600 pocket change to afford it. he was just playin around with me but it was amazing. i ended up getting the rem 870 express synthetic 26" which was on sale for $50 off plus a $30 remmy rebate. if you click the link, on the clip that it plays, notice how little recoil you can see when he hits 2 targets with 1 shot.

September 30, 2007, 10:21 PM
20 Guage is great for sheet, but if you are going to get into trap also you would be better served witha 12 guage. Berreta, Remington make great guns within most budgets for serious shooters

October 1, 2007, 09:59 AM
Installing a Limbsaver to tame the 2000 will not void the warranty. It will save your shoulder. I have a lot of name brand guns but I have sort of settled down to the M2000 with a Limbsaver. It is not an alteration of the action so the warranty is not voided.

The quality and looks of the Stoeger M2000 has really improved over the past year. They have finally got their act together. IMO, the M2000 is the only semi auto being produced in Turkey that has improved its quality control to the pint that it is good enough to beat some of the Italian models, such as the Franchi I-12 in gun tests. Gun Tests Magazine gave it a whirl comparing it to the Franchi I-12. They recommended the M2000 over the I-12 following their testing. They both have the same inertia action but the I-12 couldn't hack it against the M2000.

I love my Remington 11-87, my SKBs, and other name brand guns but the Stoeger's new model has won the right to be my primary shooter. It is light, slim, handy, reliable, and its performance in the field is great. And it's price tag is great at $439.00 + $26.95 for the Limbsaver.

FYI, in the less than $999.00 guns tested, Gun Tests Magazine recommended the Remington 11-87 as the "best buy", the M2000 a "buy it" due to reliability and performance, and the Franchi I-12 as a "don't buy" due to reliability.

October 1, 2007, 10:11 AM
Another vote for the Remington 1100. Very light recoil, very reliable shotgun in all respects. Can't got wrong with one.

Smitty in CT
October 1, 2007, 12:29 PM
The quality and looks of the Stoeger M2000 has really improved over the past year... And it's price tag is great at $439.00 + $26.95 for the Limbsaver.

If you are thinking about buying a Stoeger M2000, you had better do it quickly (as in the next few months) The current economic situation in Turkey has really taken it's toll on the almighty dollar. The dollar has taken a serious hit overseas with the Euro and especially the Turkish Lira. If you don't buy this year expect to see a big price increase on them next year...

October 1, 2007, 03:30 PM
ebutler462, I wasn't implying that putting the recoil pad on the Stoeger would void the warranty. I was saying that I wasn't sure if the M-2000 needs(warrants) a new improved recoil pad. That being said, I think that I will indeed put a limbsaver on her, less recoil is always better....


Shell Shucker
October 1, 2007, 09:41 PM
Remington 1100, Beretta 390-391.

October 1, 2007, 10:30 PM
jeo556, a Limbsaver will put a smile on your face after a hard day of shooting. The M2000 is the best semiauto coming out of Turkey. It beat the Franchi I-12 in Gun Tests Magazine in performance and reliability.

It is the most improved shotgun of the year. Stoeger has it right this time. I hope they don't mess it up with cost cutting. Their quality control has improved tremendously on the M2000 compared to the one I bought a couple of years ago. No comparison.

Put a good pad on it and it will hang in there with the high dollar guns. Without a good pad, I would not want one due to the "shoulder shock". I am a wimp when it comes to recoil. My 70 years old shoulders just don't care for all that punishment. That is why I have a Limbsaver on it.

October 1, 2007, 11:35 PM
for now and get proficient with it.
Then decide on an Auto-loader.
Most Skeet shooters are using O/U as there is only two shots max.

October 1, 2007, 11:45 PM
1100 is good and a best buy if your looking for used. Go with a 12, 20 can be very difficult for new shooters. Also easier to find 8&9 shot for 12 ga. The browning A5 would be good also. If you really get into it you may want a lighter gun. The 1100 is heavy compared to the alloy receiver thin barreled berrerttas, brownings and european guns. But they cost a lot more than a 1100. Pumps really suck for doubles but are fine for trap.

November 1, 2007, 03:23 PM
I'm a fan of the Beretta 390/391. Easy on the recoil and a proven performer.

Personally, I shoot a Browning Gold for semiauto and a Browning Lightning Sporting Clays over/under. I decided to take the plunge to have something to carry me to whatever I wanted to do. Absolutely love the over/under.

If you have the mossberg - shoot it for a while and save up for a nice over/under - you're going to have to spend around 900-1100 used, up to 1600 new for something that'll last basically forever and carry you as far as you want with skeet, clays, and trap.


November 1, 2007, 06:44 PM
I am quite fond of my Winchester SX2.


November 1, 2007, 06:56 PM
I like the Benelli super sport with a 30" barrel in either 12ga or 20ga ( 28" barrel on the 20ga).

November 2, 2007, 06:33 AM
I really like the Remington 1100. I bought one because I wanted to start shooting clays. I opted for the 12 ga - the recoil was very manageable with the gas operated semi-auto action. My 1100 pointed very naturally, was reliable, and a good value.

Austin Cowart
November 2, 2007, 12:55 PM
get one of the new mossberg 930 or 935 you can get one new for around 400 and they are GREAT!

November 3, 2007, 09:09 AM
Check around for a "Seasoned" 1100. Shoot it untill you decide if you want to get involved in the game as a casual shooter or a hard core competitor. Do not become concerned with the gun you shoot but rather learning and enjoying the game.

The 1100 is a legend on the skeet range and has won more than probably all the other auto shotguns combined. It is made here and parts are never a problem, and the part most often needed can be found in any hardware store or Home Depot (O rings).

Spend money on some lessons and ammo. The promo packs sold at box/outdoor stores (Use #8 shot for Skeet, promo's don't come in #9 the optimal shot for skeet) will work just fine. 20 ga is fine as long as you are learning and not concerned with beating everyone else. Hardcore skeeters most often practice with 28 or 410.

If you suddenly decide that you want to compete, then you will most likely buy other guns. Don't get into O/U's untill you really know that you need one for competition.

November 3, 2007, 11:18 AM
On post just above I moved some of my shotshell ammo, which I bought every so often at Gander Mountain as it was cheap, and find about 660 rounds total - that I found to date. Got a start in that area anyway.

I used a Baikal 12 or 20 SxS for crude trap shooting (launch yourself and shoot) and found a doub le trigger works provided you can train yourself to grab the second trigger. Also the tighter second choke gives a tighter second shot when the first misses. It is necessary to have a knowledge of how the SxS is designed at the stock end as they should really be fit to your body - these are about the only guns made where extensive (and expensive) custom fitting is done. Look up some shotgun sites such as DoublegunBBS.com and others.

I have three A-5's simply because I think it's a classy gun. The square receiver does work in helping align on the target. I fired an 870 pump with a pipe-cut barrel of 18", the inner ring left in the barrel end, and no sight at all. Once a sight picture is developed it works. A pump is no problem and learning to shuck fast is part of the discipline. Whatever you shoot there is an issue of mental control. Know what is happening and what you are supposed to do. Know when you don't do it. Don't develop bad habits or flinches, etc.